When you have a band of rowdy, ragged rockers like Vancouver’s Ladyhawk who are known for two things: rockin’ hard and partying hard, you have to learn to accept that there will be nights that like Friday at the Beachland Tavern where their two main interests both compliment and conflict with each other. If the small homemade sign on the merch table reading, “We likey weed,” complete with a hastily drawn joint, didn’t clue you in to where their priorities laid this night, then guitarist Darcy Hancock’s almost comical, off-beat clapping during the second number, “Long Til,” surely did the trick. He couldn’t have been further from the beat if he tried. Thankfully, Hancock isn’t in the band to keep time, he’s in it to shred, and when it was time for him to jump back into the song and compliment Duffy Dreideger’s lonely call, he could still hit his mark.
Most times Ladyhawk’s wild ways fit their songs just fine. If you came for Rock ‘N’ Roll, it doesn’t get much better than Hancock and Dreideger rifling off chugging rhythms on their guitars with bassist Sean Hawwyluk standing center stage, head bangin’ like a professional heavy metal stunt double, his long hair swirling furiously, accenting each thick, lumbering chord hit by the band. I can forgive a less than elegant transition between the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “The Dugout” for that one transcendent moment mid-song where the guitars hit just right as they stagger and ramble on to a masterful climax.
With a set front loaded with many of their stronger numbers (“I Don’t Always Know What You’re Saying, “Came in Brave”, “S.T.H.D,” and “The Dugout” were all played early in the set), it was unclear how they’d fill their time on stage. Dreideger offered a simple solution, “We’re gonna jam out and be indulgent, because that’s just the type of assholes we are. It’s called ‘Time Stands Still’ and it’s by Rush.” Oh, that Canadian humor. They didn’t crank out classic Rush, as many in the crowd hoped/feared, rather they launched into the epic closer, “Ghost Blues” from their latest release, Shots. While not a jam in the progressive rock sense; there were no extended keyboard solos and no synchronized laser shows, at over ten minutes it gave the band plenty of time to feed their need to be music geeks. If “Ghost Blues” was for the band, then the closing three numbers, “My Old Jacknife,” “You Ran,” and “Teenage Love Song” were for the fans. There were no extended jams in this trio. Just good old fashioned Southern Rock ‘N’ Roll, played by a fun loving band of Canadians.
I Don’t Always Know What You’re Saying
Came In Brave
I Wanna Be Sedated/The Dugout
My Old Jacknife
Teenage Love Song